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Yannick
09-02-2005, 12:19 AM
Hi there,

just a couple of thoughts in front of my TV set this morning watching the latest news about the NO disaster.

1. On the pictures they show of the people still trapped down there, you only see black people, and it is said that those who wouldn't or couldn't leave the city some days ago were the poorest. Frankly, I didn't even notice that there were so many black people in NO last time I checked there for a week. Yet, it has to be said that for work reasons I stayed mainly in the French Quarter and around the Congress Center, and truth be said the only black people I remember were my limo drivers and some tap dancers, plus one mystic nutcase yelling bits from the bible in the street. Does it mean all poor people are black ? What does it say about equality of chances ?

2. About the incidents, the lootings and the rapes/murder things. It is understood by many psychologists that murder and rape in civilzed countries can be associated with need to 'own' something (say own a body, own a life) and serial killers, for example, have always been describes as follow : people who want what they see and take it. Therefore, rape/murder can be assimilated to looting, to a certain extent. Then if we look at looting in this situation, what does it represent, really ? It seems to indicate that the need to own things is bigger than the need to survive or the emotional empathy and the compassion that should be a direct consequence of the situation Katrina has put those peole into. Does it mean consumerism has really taken over all human traits in the 21st century ?

Discuss calmly please. I'm just shocked at human nature and at the hypocrisy of the world we live in. Plus, I've been lately feeling more and more like a commie too, which doesn't help.

DeleriumTremens
09-02-2005, 12:28 AM
Every time I've been in New Orleans I've always been around a lot black people, in fact in many parts of the town I never saw and white guys other than me and my friends.

Yannick
09-02-2005, 12:38 AM
Every time I've been in New Orleans I've always been around a lot black people, in fact in many parts of the town I never saw and white guys other than me and my friends.

I don't question this, as I said, I was only in the french quarter (really had no time to wander further than this) and the place was indeed mainly populated by white people (I guess the tourist aspect of that part of town helps) and I'm sincerely honest when I say I didn't notice that many black people (I remember this well cause I've been interested in what happened in the past with the slavery in the Southern states, and couldn't help thinking of all the history of blues and jazz musicians and the people working the cotton fields before going there and was really surprised that the only black people I saw where more like iconic remains of a lost culture, sorry it's the commie in me).

I don't doubt there are lots of black people in NO, but my question was more about them not sharing the seats in the nicest parts of town, therefore shocking me a little regarding their social position and made me wander about the famed American Way, when everybody can make it to the top, taken for granted they want to make it to the top.

I guess I'm just desabused about that legend, cause I can't compute the idea that it would be mainly black people who didn't want to success in their lifes, therefore I think there's something fucked about the system if you have say, 50% black people and 50% white people in a town, and only 10% of those who made it are black. Just doesn't compute with the idea of equal chances for everyone.

DeleriumTremens
09-02-2005, 12:42 AM
ah I think the French Quarter is mostly a tourist area, while the rest of the city is pretty poor for both black and white. LA is one of the poorest states in the Union.

TheYanni
09-02-2005, 03:39 AM
For the record over half of New Orleans population was African American

Yannick
09-02-2005, 04:10 AM
For the record over half of New Orleans population was African American

Which fits exactly the example I was using above... How come those left are in their vast majority black ? How come ther's not a better racial repartition amongst those considered the poorest (namely those left behind) ? What happened to equity in the American Way ?

My initial remarks were observation based, I knew, when in New Orleans, that there were lots of black people living there... I just found it disturbing not to see more of them in the streets of the most popular neighborhood (French Quarter) besides those doing some performance (tap dancers and others) to get some money. I'm just really skeptical about the integration in the States and the fabled American Way saying that anybody who wants to reach the moon can do it if he tries hard enough. Just disappointed is all.

And I know it's kind of the same around here (France) and you don't see that many arab people in center town or making it big (they're mostly living in poor suburbs) but there's nothing like a French Way, no illusionary promises of a better life to anyone who's trying hard enough. Not the same culture of success.

dEnny!
09-02-2005, 04:18 AM
It is not easy to elevate your status, you have to be very motivated and have a little luck because outside influences can bring you down. I don't know the people on the tv, I don't know their desires and dreams, or abilities, or willingness to strive for more. A buddy of mine is going to school to become a cop and he goes on ride alongs and helps out and they had a call in the government assisted housing area and he walks inside to find a huge flat screen television, multiple PS2's, amazing stereo equipment...my wife and I don't have that. He doesn't have that. But when your income is drug related it's easy to get government assisted funding because on paper you have little income (it was a reported B&E that was drug related).

A lot of the people I see on the television are old too. What does that say about how we treat our elderly? But we don't know what they did in life.

We don't know if the people we are seeing tried to achieve and get an education or just dropped out. We don't know if they had abilities, but couldn't catch a break, or they just didn't care.

And for all the stories you hear of looters, snipers, and other horrible acts you still see a community coming together with local police and national guardsman to try and help get this city back on its feet.

Taxman
09-02-2005, 04:24 AM
Hi there,

just a couple of thoughts in front of my TV set this morning watching the latest news about the NO disaster.

1. On the pictures they show of the people still trapped down there, you only see black people, and it is said that those who wouldn't or couldn't leave the city some days ago were the poorest. Frankly, I didn't even notice that there were so many black people in NO last time I checked there for a week. Inexplicable

Thudpucker
09-02-2005, 04:43 AM
For the record over half of New Orleans population was African American

And you get this information from where?

The census shows 1,472,640 residents in New Orleans. 519,641 are Black, 838,983 White, and 114,016 are of other races.

519,641 is not more than half the population. There are also sognificantly less Black people in New Orleans than White, over 300,000 less in fact.

Thudpucker
09-02-2005, 04:58 AM
Inexplicable

Not really.

There are thousands of very poor people living in New Orleans (and any large City), living below the poverty level. Yes, a high percentage of those people are Black, that's just a fact.

Many people in large Cities do not own cars, but instead use public transportation or walk.

So what does a person who does not own a car do when others are evacuating? And what does a very poor person who can not afford the costs of an evacuation (the Hotels, food, ect) do?

They follow the officials directions and head to shelters to ride out the storm, that's what.

And when they get there, with only the clothes on thier backs and no homes to return to, they need and expect assistance. Which is a reasonable expectation.

I know you are not one of the people saying "well, why didn't they just get out of the City" Taxman. But next time you do run into one of those people, please smack them and inform them that they are an idiot.

Yannick
09-02-2005, 05:31 AM
Not really.

There are thousands of very poor people living in New Orleans (and any large City), living below the poverty level. Yes, a high percentage of those people are Black, that's just a fact.

Many people in large Cities do not own cars, but instead use public transportation or walk.

So what does a person who does not own a car do when others are evacuating? And what does a very poor person who can not afford the costs of an evacuation (the Hotels, food, ect) do?

They follow the officials directions and head to shelters to ride out the storm, that's what.

And when they get there, with only the clothes on thier backs and no homes to return to, they need and expect assistance. Which is a reasonable expectation.

I know you are not one of the people saying "well, why didn't they just get out of the City" Taxman. But next time you do run into one of those people, please smack them and inform them that they are an idiot.

I think Thud pucker has gotten the true idea behind my questions (poverty and obsessive consumerism as a way of life and a mean to live, unnatural selection, those who try hard don't necessarly have the same chances as the ones who don't try at all). I've looked at the pictures, I've heard the stories, I've heard the reports from people down there.... And I feel like I'm looking at a third world country... And I wonder... What happened to the Great American Dream... And that makes me sad.

mario
09-02-2005, 05:47 AM
that's ther gist from most foreign reporters: Is this the most powerful nation in the world or a country worse than Indonesia

Thudpucker
09-02-2005, 06:20 AM
that's ther gist from most foreign reporters: Is this the most powerful nation in the world or a country worse than Indonesia

It's inexcusable that we were not better able to handle this.

TyPierce
09-02-2005, 06:43 AM
The thing that's really throwing me for a loop in all this is how easy the chaos has happened. When you look at other countries with conflict and refugee situations - a lot of the armed conflict nations in Africa, for instance - and you wonder how humanity could do the horrible things it does sometimes. Then this happens, and you find out that the richest nation in the world is only a hurricane away from helplessness and anarchy.

Kind of an "I never thought it could happen here" thing, I guess, but it's definitely depressing.

Taxman
09-02-2005, 06:56 AM
Not really.

There are thousands of very poor people living in New Orleans (and any large City), living below the poverty level. Yes, a high percentage of those people are Black, that's just a fact.

Many people in large Cities do not own cars, but instead use public transportation or walk.

So what does a person who does not own a car do when others are evacuating? And what does a very poor person who can not afford the costs of an evacuation (the Hotels, food, ect) do?

They follow the officials directions and head to shelters to ride out the storm, that's what.

And when they get there, with only the clothes on thier backs and no homes to return to, they need and expect assistance. Which is a reasonable expectation.

I know you are not one of the people saying "well, why didn't they just get out of the City" Taxman. But next time you do run into one of those people, please smack them and inform them that they are an idiot.Sorry Thud. The only thing that I felt was inexplicable was someone making the claim that they did not know there were many blacks living in New Orleans.

Yannick
09-02-2005, 07:04 AM
Sorry Thud. The only thing that I felt was inexplicable was someone making the claim that they did not know there were many blacks living in New Orleans.

Yet, had you read further than my first post, you would have seen that I knew that and was just a bit bitter about what looks more like a (low) social position being dominant in a racial group. Therefore I was not making a claim.

Call it deep disappointment in a way of life that is supposed to be good, namely what we're being sold as an example to follow and that just seems like pure shit when I read some people assuring foreigners that they should move to the states because everything is so grand and unemployment is at a lowest, economy is still kind of booming despite the major oil crisis and the astronomical war effort and that everybody has a shot at success there...
Just looks to me like big pile of dung. All those good results and all those good principles don't stop people from being eaten by rats, drowning in their own shit being carried away by the water in the streets of a majot american city.

BITTER, I tell you.

Taxman
09-02-2005, 07:16 AM
I think Thud pucker has gotten the true idea behind my questions (poverty and obsessive consumerism as a way of life and a mean to live, unnatural selection, those who try hard don't necessarly have the same chances as the ones who don't try at all). I've looked at the pictures, I've heard the stories, I've heard the reports from people down there.... And I feel like I'm looking at a third world country... And I wonder... What happened to the Great American Dream... And that makes me sad.I do not wish to involve myself in a history lesson or any sort of social debate, but this is the way The South is.

half guard
09-02-2005, 07:16 AM
there aren't more african americans living in new orleans than there are other races, but unfortunately the majority of them are below the poverty level (as was already mentioned). i think thudpucker hit the nail on the head. a large number of the black people that didn't evacuate live paycheck to paycheck, don't own cars, don't have tv's or radios, and likely didn't know about the true danger coming until it was too late to evacuate anyway.

also, don't let the footage of the looters being mostly black give you the wrong impression. there are A LOT more poor african american citizens of new orleans who are not participating in the violence / rapes / etc. than the people who are acting like thug criminals. the people trapped in the shelters and the projects are almost all good, honest, law-abiding people who were simply not prepared to leave at no fault of their own.

Yannick
09-02-2005, 07:23 AM
there aren't more african americans living in new orleans than there are other races, but unfortunately the majority of them are below the poverty level (as was already mentioned). i think thudpucker hit the nail on the head. a large number of the black people that didn't evacuate live paycheck to paycheck, don't own cars, don't have tv's or radios, and likely didn't know about the true danger coming until it was too late to evacuate anyway.

also, don't let the footage of the looters being mostly black give you the wrong impression. there are A LOT more poor african american citizens of new orleans who are not participating in the violence / rapes / etc. than the people who are acting like thug criminals. the people trapped in the shelters and the projects are almost all good, honest, law-abiding people who were simply not prepared to leave at no fault of their own.

Oh, don't get me wrong on that... I know not all people trapped there are looting/raping/etc... I just know that ALL people down there are victims. Those looters happen to be black, mainly because looters are rarely rich kids, and THAT was the nature of my questions : how come only black people, it seems, are poor ? Poor enough to not have means of leaving the city ? How come they grew up in such a way that they think that, occasion being given, it might be more useful to steal the latests Nike, the latest videogames, the latest LCD screens rather than helping their neighbors ? I'm criticizing what seems to me like the end of capitalism... Capitalism, the way it has gone, doesn't give equal chances to any person willing to succeed in his/her career, it only helped building frustration and desire, uncontrollable desire, materialism above any other spiritually challenging attitude.

"YOU ARE WHAT YOU HAVE. I WANT WHAT YOU HAVE."

stevapalooza
09-02-2005, 09:20 AM
There are plenty of examples of American disasters where people didn't riot or loot or do anything horrendous, so judging this as some kind of norm for the American response to disaster is silly. And using this as proof that capitalism makes people crazy is even sillier. If that were true then it would stand to reason that New York city, the mecca of consumerism and capitalism, would've punged into pure chaos during the massive blackout a few years back. But we didn't. Not even close. All us crazy, wealth-crazed capitalistrs sat quietly in the dark and sweated our asses off for two miserable days.

And bear in mind NO isn't the only place Katrina has devastated. Where are the riots and rapes in Biloxi, Mississippi? Shit like this just happens sometimes. And it's not an American thing, it's a human thing.

Yannick
09-02-2005, 09:26 AM
There are plenty of examples of American disasters where people didn't riot or loot or do anything horrendous, so judging this as some kind of norm for the American response to disaster is silly. And using this as proof that capitalism makes people crazy is even sillier. If that were true then it would stand to reason that New York city, the mecca of consumerism and capitalism, would've punged into pure chaos during the massive blackout a few years back. But we didn't. Not even close. All us crazy, wealth-crazed capitalistrs sat quietly in the dark and sweated our asses off for two miserable days.

And bear in mind NO isn't the only place Katrina has devastated. Where are the riots and rapes in Biloxi, Mississippi? Shit like this just happens sometimes. And it's not an American thing, it's a human thing.

Are the social aspects so contrasted in Biloxi and other places which were devastated as they seem to be in NO ? Were there so contrasted in NY at the time of 9/11 ?
According to what I've read so far, NO had a huge population of people living on very little money. When I was in NO, I only saw the parts where things were glittering and the youth seemed to spend money without thinking much about it. We're talking promiscuity : I HAVE IT living next door to I WANT IT. Contrast. Plus the fact that because of their poverty, most of them ended up stuck there, left alone to die, is there any reason why what I call the active victims, the minority, wouldn't take their chance at being, at least, the new kings of the street ?

EDIT : what about the numerous riots which took place in what was then called the ghettos of such big cities as LA ? An event triggers a reaction, sometimes really violent. And in those situations, the looting happened as well. A natural disaster is just an occasion to take it back to the street for the active minority, the same way that a Rodney King scandal would.

Taxman
09-02-2005, 09:35 AM
There are plenty of examples of American disasters where people didn't riot or loot or do anything horrendous,I believe you will find that looting is very common, and not always covered by the media. A breakdown of society to the extent that we see in New Orleans is extremely rare.

half guard
09-02-2005, 09:49 AM
There are plenty of examples of American disasters where people didn't riot or loot or do anything horrendous, so judging this as some kind of norm for the American response to disaster is silly. And using this as proof that capitalism makes people crazy is even sillier. If that were true then it would stand to reason that New York city, the mecca of consumerism and capitalism, would've punged into pure chaos during the massive blackout a few years back. But we didn't. Not even close. All us crazy, wealth-crazed capitalistrs sat quietly in the dark and sweated our asses off for two miserable days.

And bear in mind NO isn't the only place Katrina has devastated. Where are the riots and rapes in Biloxi, Mississippi? Shit like this just happens sometimes. And it's not an American thing, it's a human thing.

to be totally honest with you, new orleans and high crime go hand in hand. the rioting, etc. really didn't surprise me. prior to this storm, almost every other day there would be another story about a police officer getting shot in new orleans in the line of duty. the previous administration (before nagin) passed a "residency rule" law that required n.o.p.d. officers to live in new orleans proper. about half of the officers lived around new orleans in places like slidell, covington, etc. after this law passed, they lost a LOT of their cops.

while crime was always bad there, it pretty much doubled after that law passed. nagin has been doing his damnedest to clean up new orleans in the past year or so, but he's been fighting an uphill battle.